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About Andrew Aitken Rooney
Andrew Aitken "Andy" Rooney (January 14, 1919 – November 4, 2011) was an American radio and television writer. He was most notable for his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney", a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. His final regular appearance on 60 Minutes aired October 2, 2011. He died one month later, on November 4, 2011, at age 92.
Andrew Rooney was born in Albany, New York, the son of Walter Scott Rooney (1888–1959) and Ellinor (Reynolds) Rooney (1886–1980). He attended The Albany Academy, and later attended Colgate University in Hamilton in Central New York, where he was initiated into the Sigma Chi fraternity, until he was drafted into the United States Army in August 1941. Rooney began his career in newspapers while in the Army when, in 1942, he began writing for Stars and Stripes in London during World War II.
In February 1943, flying with the Eighth Air Force, he was one of six correspondents who flew on the second American bombing raid over Germany. Later, he was one of the first American journalists to visit the Nazi concentration camps near the end of World War II, and one of the first to write about them. During a segment on Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, Rooney confessed that he had been opposed to World War II because he was a pacifist. He recounted that what he saw in those concentration camps made him ashamed that he had opposed the war and permanently changed his opinions about whether "just wars" exist.
In London, during the war, Mary Hemingway made an accusation of plagiarism against several fellow journalists, including Andy Rooney, although the accusations were proven false.
Rooney's 1995 memoir, My War, chronicles his war reporting. In addition to recounting firsthand several notable historical events and people (including the entry into Paris and the Nazi concentration camps), Rooney describes how it shaped his experience both as a writer and reporter.
Rooney joined CBS in 1949, as a writer for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, when Godfrey was at his peak on CBS radio and TV. It opened the show up to a variety of viewers. The program was a hit, reaching number one in 1952, during Rooney's tenure with the program. It was the beginning of a close life-long friendship between Rooney and Godfrey. He wrote for Godfrey's daytime radio and TV show Arthur Godfrey Time. He later moved on to The Garry Moore Show, which became a hit program. During the same period, he wrote for CBS News public affairs programs such as The Twentieth Century. According to CBS News's biography of him, "Rooney wrote his first television essay, a longer-length precursor of the type he does on 60 Minutes, in 1964, "An Essay on Doors." From 1962, to 1968, he collaborated with another close friend, the late CBS News correspondent Harry Reasoner — Rooney writing and producing, Reasoner narrating — on such notable CBS News specials as "An Essay on Bridges" (1965), "An Essay on Hotels" (1966), "An Essay on Women" (1967), and "The Strange Case of the English Language" (1968). In 1968, he wrote two CBS News specials in the series "Of Black America", and his script for "Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed" won him his first Emmy."
Rooney was married to Marguerite "Margie" Rooney (née Howard) for 62 years, until she died of heart failure in 2004. He later wrote, "her name does not appear as often as it originally did [in my essays] because it hurts too much to write it." They had four children; Brian, Emily, Martha and Ellen. His daughter Emily Rooney is a TV talk show host and former ABC News producer who went on to host a nightly Boston-area public affairs program, Greater Boston, on WGBH. Emily's identical twin, Martha, became Chief of the Public Services Division at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. The third daughter, Ellen, is a photographer based in London. His son, Brian Rooney, has been a correspondent for ABC since the 1980s.
Rooney lived in the Rowayton section of Norwalk, Connecticut, and in Rensselaerville, New York, and was a longtime season ticket holder for the New York Giants.
Rooney was hospitalized on October 25, 2011, after developing postoperative complications from an undisclosed surgery, and died on November 4, 2011, at the age of 92, three weeks after his last appearance on 60 Minutes.